“The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along”
The romance brew somehow in this manner between the two protagonists of the story- Usha and Aniruddha back in the mythological era when the ‘City of Eternal Romance- Tezpur’ was formed.
Usha, the daughter of a thousand-armed demon king called Banasura, was an enchanting princess. Her beauty was so captivating that concerned of her enthralling appearance, he built a fortress at Tezpur (then called Sonitpur) as a ruler of present-day Central Assam with his capital in Tezpur itself. The fortress was enveloped with fire and the flames burnt out constantly on all sides and directions of the same. That is why, it was named ‘Agnigarh’ – ‘Agni’ signifying ‘fire’ and ‘Garh’ implying ‘fortress’. Banasura’s motive of building the fortress was to keep Usha in isolation as many young suitors had come to him asking for her hand. Not a single soul was allowed to enter or exit the place without his permission.
Usha was a devout worshipper of Goddess Parvati. She was fascinated by the love and the relationship that Goddess Parvati shared with her husband Lord Shiva. She wished for and prayed to have a husband and be blessed with a love life one like Goddess Parvati .Once, propitiated by her devotion, the mighty Goddess appeared in front of her and blessed her with a boon that on the lunar month of Baishakh, she would get to see the glance of the man of her life in her dreams. Usha was mesmerized by the thought of love and kept awaiting that specific day to arrive when she could finally witness the man of her dreams. On Baishakh Dwadeshi (12th day in a lunar month) she envisioned an unbelievably attractive man in her dreams and no sooner had she seen him, than she fell for him. The next morning, as soon as she woke up, she told about the dream to Chitralekha, her dear comrade, who was the daughter of Narad, Banasura’s Minister. Chitralekha was not only an accomplished painter but also one with supernatural powers. She could paint anyone and anything just by listening to the description of their features. Usha was anxious and intrigued to identify the man of her dreams in person. Chitralekha extended her magical helping hands by drawing portraits of various Gods and handsome men belonging to prestigious families. Amongst all, Usha could finally recognize the man of her dreams – Aniruddha, with whom she fell in love blindly and instantly. By now, half of the task was won. It was time to fore-front each other and Usha couldn’t wait but seek help from Chitralekha. Using her mystical powers, Chitralekha discovered the location of Aniruddha which was in Dwarka, took him and fled away to Usha’s fortress while he was fast asleep. Banasura was unaware of all of this yet. When the sleep broke and Aniruddha woke up, he saw the first sight of Usha and witnessing her bewitching beauty, he too fell for her in no time. They were in love.
That is why, I have quoted Rumi at the very beginning of the story. The moment Usha heard her first love story- the love story of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, she started looking out for someone not knowing how blind it could be to fall in love with someone she had dreamt of and moreover, she was unknown to him as a person. The concluding lines of the quote justifies the accomplished love between the two of them “Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They are within each other all along”. May be that could be the reason they instantly fell for each other like a pair made in heaven.
But that was not the end as no love story is complete without a villain in it. Here, the Villian was Usha’s father- Banasura. Banasura was furious to discover Aniruddha in Usha’s fortress. Chitralekha on the instruction of Banasura, took Usha to a Shiva temple in a palanquin. Aniruddha too went along in disguise of a “Kahar” (a person carrying a palanquin). As soon as Banasur came to know about this, he along with his army reached the temple and a fierce battle ensued between both of them. He imprisoned Aniruddha and tied him with snakes. Lord Krishna on knowing the incident, came for his grandson’s (Aniruddha’s) rescue along with Lord Balram, Pradyumna and other Yadavas. A conflict took place between the Yadavas and the Asuras. But, the Asuras could not withstand the warfare tactics of the Yadavas and Banasura had to take refuge under Lord Shiva, who once propitiated by his penance & prayers, gave him a boon to which he pleaded to be his protector.
Lord Shiva on keeping up with the vow, came forward to protect him. They took out their most powerful weapons, Lord Krishna- His Sudarshana Chakra and Lord Shiva- His Trishula. This led to the ‘Hari-Hara War’. Hari- Lord Krishna and his followers & Hara- Lord Shiva and his followers. This was the evil consequence of the boon that had turned into a bane. To stop the percussion of this epic battle, Lord Brahma showed up requesting the two Gods to bring this war to an end.
Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma and Narad then requested Lord Krishna to spare Banasura’s life. Lord Krishna, honoring to the boon granted by Lord Shiva to Banasura, agreed to spare his life, but to pacify his haughtiness and utter arrogance, he tore apart Banasura’s thousand arms one by one, only to be remained with four arms. The city was drenched in a pool of blood. The blood shedding lead to the renaming of the city as “Tezpur”, ‘Tez’ meaning blood in Assamese, and ‘Pura’ meaning City or Town.
Banasura realized that it was the consequence of his unnecessary conceit, pride and egotism. Thus, with great regret, he apologized and bowed down for the act leading to the Hari-Hara war.
Then, Lord Krishna and the Yadavas rescued Aniruddha and Usha. Banasura also consented to their marriage and gave Usha’s hands to Aniruddha. Their magnificent wedding took place in present day Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand and then, they proceeded towards Dwarka, seated in a golden chariot. They were welcomed by the citizens of Dwarka extravagantly and Usha and Aniruddha lived happily forevermore.